The finalized budget for the State of Maryland contains many victories for The Arc Maryland including:
- A 3.5% waiver rate increase to cover the cost of compliance with the Minimum Wage Act of 2014;
- Funding for 789 individuals with I/DD aging out of the school system to receive employment and other day services;
- Waiver slots for the Crisis Resolution category, or the 101 individuals with the most urgent needs;
- Reducing the Family/Individual Support Capped Waiver and Community Support Capped Waiver Waiting lists by 400 each;
- The use of the Waiting List Equity Fund derived from the sale of state institutions and deinstitutionalizing to fund waivers for 36 individuals with priority given to those with the oldest caregivers;
- Community Services for 26 individuals with I/DD involved in the court system;
- $250,000 for inclusive higher education programs for students with I/DD;
- 100 new Autism Waiver slots; and
- A $3.7 million increase for pre-kindergarten education.
As a result of The Arc Minnesota’s advocacy, the Minnesota House recently approved HF919/ SF562 to expand benefits to individuals with autism and related conditions. This bill is meant to modify the 2013 law surrounding intensive treatment for children with autism. Sponsored by Representative Roz Peterson and Senator Jim Abeler, this bill will extend Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) to 21-year-olds as well as children with other qualifying conditions. Other benefits of the bill include: coverage of individualized treatment plans, training for parents and caregivers, monitoring of treatment plans, and evaluations of treatment goals. The bill passed the Senate in March by a 66-0 vote and passed the House this week by a 131-0 vote. The bill was recently signed by Governor Mark Dayton.
The Arc New Jersey participated in a roundtable with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez held in honor of Autism Awareness Month. They used the opportunity to discuss proposed changes to Medicaid and called on Senator Menendez to fight back against block grants or per capita caps.
The Arc New Jersey has advocated for three bills recently signed by Governor Chris Christie:
- A3267/S2519 allows taxpayers to donate to an “Autism Programs Fund,” which will be used exclusively for the support of service-oriented autism programs, through their tax returns;
- A2786/S1474 requires six credits of special education to receive a teaching certificate and an unspecified number of credits of training on students with autism and comprehensive evidence-based instructional practices to address their educational strengths and needs in order receive a special education endorsement;
- A3411/S1830 requires the New Jersey Department of Health to align its regulations on lead exposure with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additionally, The chapter secured passage in both houses of A3432/S1825, which creates a task force to study and make recommendations on mobility and support service needs of adults with autism. The bill now awaits Governor Christie’s signature.
As a result of The Arc Massachusetts’ advocacy, Governor Charlie Baker’s supplemental budget includes funding for the “Turning 22” program that provides services for adults with I/DD who turn 22 and therefore are no longer eligible for services through their school districts. This program is a high priority for The Arc Massachusetts. Additionally, the chapter is seeking supplemental funding for adult foster/family care cut relief, day and employment services, services for adults with autism, Operation House Call, and dental health services.